Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gen 5 Cabernet Sauvignon
Gen 5 Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
Lodi, California

I shared this wine with my downstairs neighbor one night earlier this fall. It was the perfect Tuesday night treat!

The Gen 5 wines are all made using sustainable viticultural practices in the Lodi region of California's Central Valley. A smidge cooler and drier than the rest of the Central Valley, Lodi has been turning out some really yummy Cabs (and Zins, too!).

Review: This dark purple hued wine has lovely aromas of ripe black currants, eucalyptus and minerals. It's a hit sweet and lightly tannic, with favors of juicy currants and plums, and muted earth highlighted by spicy cloves and nutmeg. 

Food Pairing: No food required. This cab is great by itself. But if you are having dinner, I'd keep it casual, like some sweet and savory Chinese takeout.

Bottom Line: The Gen 5 is smooth and easy. A sure crowd pleaser.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Lodi AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Cabernet Sauvignon
  • BOOZE: 13.9%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? MOM's Organic Market
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New Brew Thursday: Alewerks Pumpkin Ale

Alewerks Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale
Williamsburg, Virginia

Fall has most certainly fallen. And while pumpkin beers have been available since August (crazy, right?!?), I finally decided to drink some!

Review: The pumpkin ale has a deep amber hue with a thin, lacy head. The aromas remind me a bit of mulled cider -- pie spice and ripe apples. The palate shows slightly sweet caramel and candied orange flavors, complemented by the nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

The producer claims it tastes just like pumpkin pie. Well, I wouldn't go that far, but this is one of the better pumpkin beers I've had. I quite enjoyed the balance achieved here -- sweet but bright, full bodied but still light.

Bottom Line: Smooth and softly spiced. Very tasty.

Beer Geekery:
  • BREWER: Alewerks Brewing Company
  • STYLE: Spiced Ale
  • PLACE: Williamsburg, Virginia
  • BOOZE: 7.3%
Where did I get it?  Giant
What's the damage?  Mid Priced

Monday, November 3, 2014

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Rex Goliath Chardonnay

HRM Rex-Goliath Pinot Chardonnay

So far we've seen the Rex Goliath Pinot Grigio, Shiraz, and Pink Pinot Grigio. What does the 47 pound rooster bring us for Chardonnay? You know what, it's surprisingly drinkable! Happy days for all buyers of $5 wine.

Here is Issue 4 of the Rex Chronicles: Chardonnay.

Review: The Rex Chardonnay has a soft golden color and aromas of pineapple, apricot, citrus, and toast. The palate is off-dry, with moderate acidity and no discernible oak tannin. The fruit is a bit muted by flavors of cream and toast. The finish is unremarkable. 

Bottom Line: This is pretty decent. The fruit is present, the oak isn't overwhelming, and a generous touch of sugar makes it go down smoothly. If someone were looking for a SUPER cheap, basic, slightly sweet Chardonnay, I wouldn't have any trouble recommending this. Color me surprised. 

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: America
  • GRAPE: Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Giant
What's the damage? Low Price

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jason-Stephens Estate Merlot

Jason-Stephens Estate Merlot 2010
Santa Clara, California

Berries and spice and everything nice! This Merlot from boutique Santa Clara Valley (aka: Silicon Valley) producer Jason-Stephens delivers on all fronts.

Review: This Merlot is exactly what I want Merlot to be. It has aromas of grilled figs, black plums, and a touch of menthol and herbs. The full flavors of ripe, juicy black fruit and black pepper linger on the palate. This wine achieves a wonderful balance of bright acidity and the tiniest touch of sweetness, all on a canvas of resolved, silky smooth tannins. Yum! 

Food Pairing: The slight sweetness and smoke make this a perfect pair for a spicy jambalaya. 

Bottom Line: A delight. Perfect on this cold November night.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2010
  • PLACE: Santa Clara Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Merlot
  • BOOZE: 15.2% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? High Priced

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Maison Nicolas Perrin Ermitage Rouge

Maison Nicolas Perrin Ermitage Rouge 2007
Tain l’Hermitage, France

On Monday I reviewed a bargain priced Rhone red. Tonight's wine is a little different...

It's not every day that I get to try a wine as elegant as this one (not to mention pricey). Hermitage is possibly the most famous appellation in the Northern Rhone. It's quite teeny tiny -- only 132 hectares on a south-facing hill of granite. The region is surrounded by the much larger Crozes-Hermitage which also produces amazing, if less intense and long lived, Syrahs.

Review: The wine displays rich aromas of red currants and ripe cranberries; herbaceous lavender eucalyptus, and black currant leaves; subtle toast and sweet spice; and earthy wet dirt, tar, and clean forest floor. The palate is dry with moderate acidity, and integrated soft, ripe, supple tannins. All of the notes on the nose display as intense flavors. The earthiness is enhanced by a wonderful mineral graphite. The flavors linger for a long, intense finish.

Currently the Ermitage is displaying ripe fruit and clean earth. As it continues to age, the juicy fruit will transform into dried fruit with savory spices, and earthy mushrooms and leather. I can't wait to grab another bottle to lay down for another 4 years!

Food Pairing: The herbal notes in the wine would be a fantastic pair to roast leg of lamb with mint of rosemary. Yum.

Bottom Line: Absolutely outstanding.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2007
  • PLACE: Hermitage AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 100% Syrah
  • AGEING: 15 months in new oak (30%) and stainless steel (70% )
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink through 2020

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Super Premium

Monday, October 27, 2014

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Arnoux & Fils Chapelle-St-Arnoux

Arnoux & Fils Chapelle-St-Arnoux 2011 
Ventoux, Rhone Valley, France
I don't typically choose bottles based on the labels, but this one caught my eyes. The Chapelle-St-Arnoux just looked so classy! And it was $8.99 -- clearly I had to bring it home with me.

This delightful red is made by notable producer Arnoux & Fils in the Ventoux, a sub-region of the southern Rhone Valley. It's a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault.

Review: The Chapelle-St-Arnoux has a medium ruby color and developing aromas of fresh raspberries, ripe black cherries, earth, leather, black pepper, and anise. On the palate the fresh fruit is transformed to dried berries, along with pepper and herbal notes of lavender and fennel. The tannins are grippy and a touch astringent, giving the wine a moderate body well suited to food pairings. Speaking of which...

Food Pairing: My top pick will have to be a savory stew to complement the meaty notes and toothsome texture of the wine.

Bottom Line: Quite nice, especially at the price point. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Ventoux AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault
  • BOOZE: 14% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Wegman's
What's the damage? Low Price

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mapreco Vinho Verde 2013

Mapreco Vinho Verde 2013
Minho, Portugal

Summer is on the way out (well, I suppose it's really gone), and couldn't resist trying to recapture it with summertime in a glass: Vinho Verde.

Review: The wine has a gorgeous water white color, speckled with teeny tiny bubbles. The nose is highly aromatic, displaying tart green apples, zests of lemons and limes, and light minerality. On the palate the wine is a wee bit off dry with bright, zippy acidity and a surprisingly round body. Even with a short finish, the apple and citrus flavors shine. Delightful!

The Mapreco is made from indigenous Iberian grapes Alvarinho (aka Albariño), Arinto, Loureiro, and Trajadura.

Food Pairing: This wine is delightfully food friendly and would pair with anything light and easy, from fish to chicken to veggies to fruit. I paired mine with some wasabi peas and my favorite TV show.

Bottom Line: Light, lively, and lovely. Oh, and the label has a wee little owl on it. Too cute.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Vinho Verde DOC (Denominação de Origem Controlada)
  • GRAPES: Alvarinho , Arinto, Loureiro, Trajadura
  • BOOZE: 10%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Thursday, October 16, 2014

New Brew Thursday: Brouwerij Bosteels DeuS Brut Des Flandres

Brouwerij Bosteels DeuS Brut Des Flandres 2010
Buggenhout, Belgium

The Champagne of Beers. No, not this one. The real Champagne of Beers, made using the Champagne production methods.

Brouwerij Bosteels' DeuS starts with a beer made with summer barley, and completes a month long fermentation with two different strains of yeast. After the initial fermentation, the beer is shipped from Buggenhout, Belgium to a town outside Epernay, France to start it's secondary fermentation and bottle conditioning. The beer spends 9 months on its lees (spent yeast), which imparts an amazingly rich flavor and supple texture. The bottles are then rotated, moving the yeast to the neck where it can be easily removed. The beer is then ready for drinking! Huzzah!

Review: Goodness, that's a gorgeous beer -- a soft amber color, lacy head, and teeny tiny bubbles. It has aromas of toasty malts, yeast, citrus and spice. The palate is dry with a creamy mousse of pin prick bubbles. The yeast and malts combine with soft tree fruits and spice, giving the impression of a fresh apple pie. Oh, it's beyond delicious.

Bottom Line: Amazingly round, malty, and generous. A bit pricey, but worth every penny. I dig it.

Beer Geekery:
Where did I get it?  Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage?  Premium

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hervé Souhaut Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet

Hervé Souhaut Domaine Romaneaux-Destezet 2010
Ardèche, Rhone Valley, France

I picked up this wine (among others) for a WSET study session on wines of the Rhone Valley. It was one of my favorites from the day! This wine from producer Hervé Souhaut is a blend of Roussanne and Viognier, two beautiful Rhone grapes. The property is located just across the river from Hermitage. 

Review: This beautiful deep lemon colored wine has a lovely, strong aromas of honeysuckle, yellow apples, ripe pears, white peaches, apricots, toasted almonds, and marzipan. The palate is dry with a mouth-coating texture and bright acidity. The flavors are just as deep and ripe as the nose suggested: honey, fresh stone fruit, perfumed flowers, wet stones, and touch of delicate oak. 

I love the balance that is achieved in the Romaneax-Destezet: round body, fresh acid, moderte alcohol, and concentrated fruit, flowers, nuts, and spice flavors. Oh, so tasty.

Food Pairing: Seared scallops and roasted winter squash dusted with cardamom and brown sugar.

Bottom Line: Excellent. I think I adore everything this wine has to offer. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2010
  • PLACE: Vin De Pay de Ardèche
  • GRAPES: 90% Roussanne, 10% Viognier
  • SOIL: Schist
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink now or hold for several years

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? High Priced

Monday, October 13, 2014

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Rex Goliath Pink Pinot Grigo

HRM Rex-Goliath Pink Pinot Grigio

The Rex Chronicles continue! Here is Issue 3: Pink Pinot Grigio.

Review:  From the get go, everything about this wine is cloying. The color is crazy bright pink. The aromas are of confected strawberries, reminding me of a jolly rancher candy. The palate is a mix of abrasive acidity and overwhelming sweetness. Typically I won't drink wine ice cold, as it masks the flavors. However, I tried to drink this one as cold as possible (see condensation in photo below). It didn't help. It was not "Refreshingly Sweet" as the bottle claimed, but rather stickily and ickily sweet.

Why, might you ask, is this Pinot Grigo (Gray) pink? Despite the name, Pinot Grigo grapes are actually pink! This was was made in the style of rosé with some skin contact, allowing the juice to take on the pigment of the skins.

Bottom Line: Generally I try to be positive about wine. This is one makes it difficult. I suppose if someone is looking for Kool-Aid with a kick this might work. But wouldn't you rather just throw some vodka in fruit punch?


Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: America
  • GRAPE: Pinot Grigio
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Harris Teeter
What's the damage? Low Price

Friday, October 10, 2014

Alain Combard Atmosphere Rosé
Alain Combard Atmosphere Rosé 2013
Provence, France

I know it's a little late in the season for rosé, but this one is too good to pass up! This little beauty from Provencal producers Saint-André de Figuière is sure to soothe your soul on a blazing hot day. It is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Cinsault. The grapes are from the Var department in the south of France.

Review: On the nose, this wine shows aromas of tangerine zest, lavender, and ripe blackberries. On the palate, it is dry with a medium level of acidity and a soft, round body. Flavors of juicy black fruits are joined by slightly tart blood orange, wet stone minerality, and hint of spicy ginger.

Food Pairing: Perfect at the end of a long, hot (or cold!) day with a fresh mixed green and citrus salad. 

Bottom Line: So soft and pretty. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée) Var 
  • GRAPES: 30% Syrah, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Grenache, 15% Cinsault
  • BOOZE: 13%
  • CELLAR: Drink Now

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Monday, September 15, 2014

Posting Hiatus - and Welschriesling

Posting Hiatus - and Welschriesling

Hello dearest readers! It's been a few weeks since my last post, as my life has suddenly become beyond hectic. Most of the heck came from all of the things that needed to be completed prior to going on a business trip to Austria. Woe is me, right? On the bright side, this trip will end with some serious wine tourism, which I'll do my best to tell you all about. In the meantime, let me tell you about a new love -- Welschriesling!

Last night I took my much jet-lagged self to a little pub called Columbusbräu and had, of course a giant plate of wienerschnitzel. To accompany this beautiful fried pork, I selected a glass of Welschriesling. You'll have to forgive me, in my sleep deprived state I did not note the producer or place of origin. One thing I do remember... how it tasted. Yum.

Review: This refreshing glass of goodness was a pale lemon green color, with subdued aromas of lemon zest and minerals. On the palate it was dry with bright, zippy acidity and solid citrus flavor. It had a short finish, but was the perfect companion to my wienerschnitzel spritzed with lemon juice. 

Welschriesling, despite its name, has no relation to Riesling. It is a late ripening, aromatic grape that is well suited to concentrated sweet wines, as well as easy drinking, highly acidic light wines like the one I had the pleasure of drinking! It is the second most widely planted grape in Austria, behind Grüner Veltliner.

My wine was about $5 (3.9 euro) for the glass, and worth every single penny. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wildewood Pinot Gris
Wildewood Pinot Gris 2013
Willamette Valley, Oregon

This delectable Pinot Gris is brought to you by Frenchman Laurent Montalieu of Bordeaux. Ooo la la la.

Review: This wine has a lovely pale straw color and aromas of pears, juicy nectarines, soft white flowers, and a hint of citrus. On the palate it is the a bit off dry, lending the wine a soft round body. The presence of brisk acidity keeps the sugar from taking charge -- the balance here is just perfect creating refreshing sip after sip. Fruit flavors of pears and nectarines are quite pronounced, along with some spicy crystallized ginger. The wine has a medium length finish and a stunning freshness.

Food Pairing: Perfect with spicy sushi rolls.

Bottom Line: This Pinot Gris is all I want it to be -- soft, supple, and refreshing.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Willamette Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Pinot Gris
  • BOOZE: 13.4%
  • CELLAR: Drink now, hold for up to 2 years

Where did I get it? Special Order -- call your local wine shop today!
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Monday, August 25, 2014

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Sutter Home Pink Moscato
Sutter Home Pink Moscato

Last summer I ventured into the cheap and pink category with Beringer's White Zin. Today I bring you Sutter Home's Pink Moscato. It was only $6.99 at my neighborhood grocery, so decided to give it the old college try. In fact, this is exactly the sort of thing I drank in college...

Review: The Pink Moscato is certainly pink! However, it smells nothing like Muscat -- a highly aromatic grape with floral, honey, and "grapey" notes. Instead I'm getting light candied berries and that's about it. On the palate it is definitely sweet. It's missing acidity that would keep it refeshing, making for a flabby wine. The flavor is sort of like cherry Sucrets.

I know this isn't a flattering review. But I've got to say this isn't terrible. If it were ICE cold, this would go down like water. Sutter Home specializes in mass produced, hyper-drinkable wines. This is most certianly that. Their parent company, Trinchero, say "Sutter Home is America's favorite wine, offering outstanding value from some of California's best wine-growing regions." In order to make this one, though, they sourced grapes from Argentina.

Bottom Line:  Much like the Beringer White Zin, this is more Kool Aid than wine. Drink it on down, America. Over ice while you're tubing down the river...

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: Argentina
  • GRAPE: Muscat
  • BOOZE: 10.0%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it?  Harris Teeter

What's the damage?   Low Price

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Finca Decero Remolinos Vineyard Malbec

Finca Decero Remolinos Vineyard Malbec 2011 
Agrelo, Mendoza, Argentina

The wines from Finca Decero are some of my favorites. All are from single vineyard sites high up in the Andes and are grown and vinified with care -- hand picking in the vineyards and gentle handling in the winery. This allows for delicate flavors to truly shine.

Review: This Malbec is gorgeous dark ruby color. It has aromas of ripe black cherries, violets, anise and cloves. On the palate it is dry with medium high acid and a slight alcoholic burn. The tannins are present, but soft and resolved. The wine shows rich flavors of berries, red plums, baking spices, freshly turned earth, and licorice. It has a medium long finish with a hint of black pepper.

For me, this wine does come off a little boozey. It's 14.5%, and while it is balanced by bright acidity and integrated tannins I think it needs food to help it mellow.

Food Pairing: Steak, of course, goes great with Malbec. But if you wanted to mix it up, I would pair with some grilled portobellos or eggplant. Basically, just go with something meaty.  

Bottom Line: Beautiful wine. Great fruit flavors and spice. Add food and friends and you've got yourself a good time.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Agrelo
  • GRAPE: Malbec
  • AGEING: 10% Stainless Steel, 90% French Oak barrels (30% new) for 14 months
  • BOOZE: 14.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now, hold for a few years

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? High Priced

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Amalaya Vino Bianco

Amalaya Vino Binaco 2012 
Salta, Argentina

This off dry white hails from Salta, the northern most wine growing region in Argentina. This warm, dry climate and rocky, sandy soils translates to grape stress. And when grapes are stressed they have the potential to produce some flavorful juice!

Amalaya one of several Argentinian arms of the California based Hess Family Estates.

Review: The nose is intoxicatingly floral -- in a good way -- with notes of gardenias, honeysuckle, ripe melons, and white grapefruit. On the palate it is a touch off dry and highly acidic, with a silky soft texture and flavors of ripe pears, and citrus zest. The finish has a nice lingering note of honeysuckle and minerals.

This is sure to be a crowd pleasing wine -- balanced sugar and acidity, flavorful fruits, and concentrated minerals. Oh, and it's under $15. 

Food Pairing: Mildly spicy Indian curry. Yum.

Bottom Line: I love the zippiness, brightness and minerality. Summertime in a glass. A great value.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2012
  • PLACE: Valle Calchaqui
  • GRAPES: 85% Torrontés, 15% Riesling
  • BOOZE: 13.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Monday, August 18, 2014

Modest Monday - Wines Under $10: Rex Goliath Shiraz

HRM Rex-Goliath Shiraz

The Rex Chronicles are back!  A few weeks ago I got to experience their Pinot Grigio, and tonight I bring you Issue 2 of the Rex Chronicles: Shiraz.

Review:  This Shiraz has aromas of dried blackberries and mint. On the palate it is off dry, light bodied, and a little burny (the booze is only 13.5%, but it feels a lot higher). I found flavors of blackberries, plums, and some barrel notes: toast, sweet spice, and cedar. These toasty flavors seem quite persistent on the finish. 

I find this wine to be out of balance -- too much booze, barrel notes not integrated into the wine. The producer's notes indicate the intention of a "healthy dose of oak". For me, this is unsuccessful and a bit harsh.

A quick note of amusement -- the producer's notes talk a great deal about the Aussie style of Shiraz. While the Pinot Grigio was made in Australia, the Shiraz is made in the good old US of A...

Bottom Line: All that being said, this rooster is surprisingly drinkable. The lightness of the wine, even with the heavy handed oak, makes it highly quaffable. To be honest, I wanted to hate this wine. But I can't. While it's clearly not balanced, it is easy. And only $5... I wouldn't pick it now, but I'm reminded of why I drank a lot of it in college.   

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: California
  • GRAPE: Shiraz
  • BOOZE: 13.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Giant
What's the damage? Low Price

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Margerum Riviera Rosé
Margerum Riviera Rosé 2013
San Louis Obispo, California

Earlier this year I was out in Santa Barbara and had the privilege of visiting Margerum's tasting room. I fell in love with a few wines, but none so much as the Riviera Rosé.
Review: This rosé is the softest onion-skin pink color. It has fragrant aromas of juicy watermelon, purple flowers, and wet stone. On the palate it is softly sweet and chalk full of fruit -- more melon, fresh strawberries, and red currants.

The Rivera is mostly Grenache, but also contains a bit of Counoise and Cinsault. To give texture, a touch of barrel aged Grenache is added in, too.

This is what I wish all sweet rosés were like. The balance achieved between the acidity and sugar is beautiful. The flavors are just so bright and fresh. It's simply gorgeous.

Food Pairing: A porch sipper if I ever had one. No food required. But if you wanted some, how about a nice spicy chili?

Bottom Line: Oh so tasty. Sweet but lively, fresh and fruity.

Wine Geekery:

Where did I get it? Margerum's tasting room in Santa Barbara
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Angeline Reserve Chardonnay

Angeline Reserve Chardonnay 2012
Mendocino, California

Are you looking for a moderately priced California chard with some of those buttery toasty notes? Well, I found it for you. The Angeline Chardonnay is the entry level offering from noted Russian River Valley producer Martin Ray. It's easy drinking and delicious with those classic California Chardonnay characteristics -- without being a butter bomb. Love.

Review: This golden colored Chard has a nose full of lemon peel, fresh pineapple, white flowers and a touch of pastry cream. On the palate it is dry with surprisingly brightly acidity and a round body. It has flavors of ripe yellow peaches, slight oaky notes of clove and nutmeg and a hint of buttered toast. 

Made from fruit grown in California's cooler North Coast, the wine is aged partly in stainless steel and partly in French Oak barrels. It also undergoes a partial malolactic fermentation (where tart green apple like malic acid is converted into soft buttery lactic acid). The restraint shown in both techniques makes for my kind of Chardonnay.  

Food Pairing: This wine has a balance of creaminess and brightness that makes it ideal for virtually any pairing. Personally, I will be drinking mine with a grilled cheese sandwich! 

Bottom Line: A fine example of a modern California Chardonnay. I dig it.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2012
  • PLACE: Mendocino AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPE: Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 13.9%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Mid Priced

Monday, August 11, 2014

Reserve Des Cleons Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie

Reserve Des Cleons Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2013
Nantais, Loire Valley, France
Like I've said before, I adore Muscadet Sèvre et Maine. Not only does it sound sexy, it's delicious. I saw this one at Trader Joe's for $6.99 and simply had to give it a go...

Review: On the nose the Reserve Des Cleons shows aromas of fresh green apples, meadow flowers, and candied lemon zest. On the palate it is dry and highly acidic with a surprisingly light body. The apple and floral notes are joined by ripe apricots and mandarin oranges. The finish is short and crisp.

Overall, I enjoyed this wine. It's nice and refreshing. I did find the acidity a little high, though -- more mouth watering than is typical for this type of wine. That being said, it still does have that creamy touch I would expect.

Pairing: While you could, I don't think I would want to put food with this wine. Just have a glass when you get home after one of those long Mondays.

Bottom Line: Three words: Six Ninety Nine.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie AOC  (Appellation d'origine contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Melon de Bourgogne/Muscadet
  • AGEING: Sur Lie
  • BOOZE: 11.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Trader Joe's 
What's the damage? Low Priced

Friday, August 8, 2014

Verget Chablis Terre de Pierres

Verget Chablis Terre de Pierres 2011
Chablis, Burgundy, France

Terre de Pierres -- Stones of the Earth. This Chardonnay is exactly that. The influence of Chablis' kimmerdgian clay soils makes for a wine chalk full of minerals and... you know... chalk.

Review: This wine has beautiful rich aromas of ripe apricots, golden apples, white flowers, raw almonds, and, of course, minerals. The wine is dry and softly acidic with a round body. It has flavors just like the nose -- ripe apples, pears and apricots, a touch of lemon pulp, and a flinty finish.  

This wine was vinified exclusively in stainless steel (no oak) allowing the terrioir -- the varietal character of Chardonnay. and climate and soils of Chablis -- to shine. I think this is a gorgeous wine, right at the peak of its drinking potential. Yummy.

Pairing: I'm not going to lie... I drank this with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Mac and Cheese spiked with some bacon salt. Klassy, I know.. but it works.

Bottom Line: A fantastic wine, full of fruit with a soft texture and zippy minerals.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Chablis AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Chardonnay
  • BOOZE: 12.5%
  • CELLAR: At its peak -- drink now

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? High Priced